Euthanasia

for Rodents | Chemical Means | Physical Methods | for Rabbits...


OverviewTop

The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals defines euthanasia as "the procedure of killing rapidly and painlessly".The euthanasia guidelines of LSU Health Sciences Center - Shreveport follow those established by the American Veterinary Medical Association Guidelines on Euthanasia (formerly known as the
AVMA panel on Euthanasia). Techniques must be reviewed and approved by the Animal Care and Use Committee (ACUC) during review and approval of the Animal Care and Use Review Form.

The following are methods and procedures that are accepted by the LSUHSC-S ACUC for humane euthanasia: Methods other than those generally approved may be approved with adequate justification based on scientific need and demonstration that the method chosen produces the minimum amount of animal pain and distress consistent with experimental requirements.

Many of the approved methods of euthanasia require technical proficiency for proper conduct and should not be attempted without prior training (e.g., intravascular injections and physical methods.) Other methods, such as carbon dioxide inhalation may only be used with properly designed equipment.Trained personnel in the Veterinary Services are available to perform or assist in the performance of animal euthanasia.

Methods always unacceptable in an awake animal include: potassium chloride,magnesium sulfate, strychnine,neuromuscular blockng agents,exsanguination, air embolism, and chloroform (due to its hazard to personnel).Unacceptable methods of euthanasia include:Stunning,decompression,hyperthermia,cyanide, and formalin immersion.

Approved Animal Euthanasia Methods for Rodents Top

Carbon Dioxide inhalation can be suitable for common rodent species, provided acceptable equipment is used.Compressed CO2 from cylinders is the ONLY acceptable source.Dry ice is not permitted as a CO2 source. There is debate about whether chambers should be precharged with CO2. At this time,we recommend precharging the chamber and maintaining flow that displaces 20% of the chamber volume per minute. After breathing has stopped and the animal(s) are unconscious,euthanasia may be completed by any of the following procedures:

 1.Continued exposure to CO2 for 5-30 minutes after breathing has stopped(newborn of most species are more resistant than adults to CO2 and will require 2-3 times longer exposure to assure death.)

2.Exsanguination.

3.Cervical dislocation(in rodents less than 200 gm)

4.Thoractomy

5. Administration of an injectable anesthetic preparation.

Euthanasia by Chemical Means Top

Barbiturates such as pentobarbital or barbiturate combinations formulated for animal euthanasia are suitable for most species. Detailed records of use of these combinations must be maintained because they are controlled substances.These agents must be obtained by each investigator's laboratory.Each Investigator must have a valid DEA and Louisiana DHH license. Typically the dosage for euthanasia is three times the dose required for anesthesia.

Induction of general anesthesia by other agents, such as ketamine and xylazine,followed by death without regaining consciousness is also acceptable.After anesthesia is induced by usual means,euthanasia may be completed by any of the following procedures:

1.Continued exposure to CO2 for 5-30 minutes after breathing has stopped(newborn of most species are more resistant than adults to CO2 and will require 2-3 times longer exposure to assure death.)

2.Exsanguination.

3.Cervical dislocation(in small animals less than 200 gm)

4 Administration of an injectable anesthetic preparation.

Physical Methods of Euthanasia Top

Cervical dislocation of the neck, after general anesthesia is achieved, is a simple humane method of killing mice and small rats (<200 grams). If an investigator requests the use of cervical only ,the investigator must provide scientific justification for its exclusion in their animal care and use protocol.

Decapitation is acceptable for rodents,rabbits,birds, and other animals of similar size. This requires special equipment and is anesthectically unacceptable to many. Because of electroencephalographic evidence suggesting continued cortical activity after decapitation, the AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia recommend that animals be anesthetized when decapitated or that the investigator provide scientific justification for the use of this technique without anesthesia or sedation. While the use of anesthetics prior to decapitation is preferred, the scientific justification for decapitation may prelude their use.

Approved Methods of Euthanasia for Rabbits, Dogs, Pigs, and Goats Top

Induction of general anesthesia followed by one of the following:

1.Continued exposure to anesthetic for 5-30 minutes after breathing has stopped (newborn of most species are resistant than adults to hypoxia and will require exposure 2-3 times longer exposure to assure death.)

2.Exsanguination.

3.Administration of injectable anesthetic overdose or euthanasia preparation until death is confirmed by the absence of a heart beat on auscultation.

 

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